Mary’s Memo #2299

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If one of your New Year resolutions is eating healthier, Clean Eating for Busy Families by Michelle Dudash, R.D., should be on your list of required reading. Every parent knows what a struggle it can be to get dinner on the table night after night. They want to prepare healthy meals for their families, but picky eaters, busy schedules and way-too-long cooking times always seem to stand in the way. Clean Eating for Busy Families (Fair Winds Press, January 2013, $19.99) takes the challenge out of putting delicious food on the table every night by providing readers with a clear plan for dinner success.

Most energy bars are not cheap so why not make your own. Dudash wraps them individually and stores in the fridge for family members to "grab and go" for between-meal-snacks at work, school, running errands etc.


Expeller-pressed canola oil spray

1 cup raw cashews

1/4 cup dried tart cherries or raisins

1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/3 cup sesame seeds

(old-fashioned oats can be substituted)

3 tablespoons flaxseed meal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300oF and coat a 9x9-inch pan with canola oil spray. Finely chop cashews and dried fruit in a food processor and add to a large bowl. Add pumpkin seeds, sunflower and sesame seeds, flaxseed meal and salt and stir to combine. In separate bowl, microwave the honey for a few seconds to warm. Drizzle honey and vanilla into nut mixture and stir until completely incorporated. Pour the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Spray sheet of waxed paper with canola oil spray; place the waxed paper on to of the mixture, spray side down, and pack down gently with your hands. Cut into 12 bars. For maximum freshness, store bars individually in snack bags and refrigerate for one month. Per serving: 260 calories.

Source: Clean Eating For Busy Families by Michelle Dudash, R.D. (Fair Winds, January 2013, $19.99).


Every New Year's Eve party should have a designated driver who doesn't imbibe. Hot Spiced Percolator Punch on

page 12 of my cookbook is the perfect beverage for all who prefer a non-alcoholic drink. A good host should offer an alternative.


1 (46-ounce) can unsweetened pineapple juice

8 cups cranberry juice cocktail

2 cups water

3/4 cups light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon whole cloves

12 inches cinnamon sticks

Peel from 1 orange, cut in thin strips

Combine juices, water, brown sugar and salt in 24 to 30 cup automatic percolator. Place cloves, cinnamon sticks and orange peel in coffee basket. Assemble coffee maker, plug in percolator. Recipe makes about 25 (6-ounce) servings.

Source: Thank You, Glad You Liked It, by Mary Thaman.


In addition to eating healthier, exercise is another one to consider. According to the January 2013, University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, about half of Americans are basically sedentary .... That is, they rarely if ever exercise and seldom do any sustained physical activity reports John Swartzberg, M.D., Chair of its Editorial Board. To counter the inertia, the Wellness Letter constantly reports on research highlighting the wide array of health benefits of exercise. But for many people, promoting exercise for its long-term health benefits isn't very effective. One of the best ways to "sell" exercise is to focus on immediate perks. For Swartzberg, it energizes him for the evening, destresses the mind, reduces anxiety and gives him a sense of well-being. Several years ago he started listening to audio books while exercising and now "reads" a couple books a month and his half hour or 15 minutes of weight training goes by in no time. But you don't have to go to a gym or health club. There are simple exercises you can do at home including using chairs, light weights, a jump rope or whatever is at hand. You can walk briskly outdoors or at a mall, even more beneficial.

Finally, try to be more grateful in 2013. It's difficult to be stressed out when you're grateful. Gratitude doesn't cost a thing and its rewards are many: It's what keeps me going with only a few relapses now and then!


Download PDF of Memo #2299

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